Columbia nuclear power plant issued final safety evaluation for license renewal

Source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its final safety evaluation report (SER) for the proposed renewal of the operating license for the Columbia nuclear power plant The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its final safety evaluation report (SER) for the proposed renewal of the operating license for the Columbia nuclear power plant and concluded that there are no open items that would preclude license renewal for an additional 20 years of operation. 

The report documents the results of the NRC staff’s review of the license renewal application and site audits of the plant’s aging management programs to address the safety of plant operations during the period of extended operation. Overall, the results show that the applicant has identified actions that have been or will be taken to manage the effects of aging in the appropriate safety systems, structures and components of the plant and that their functions will be maintained during the period of extended operation. 

Issuing the final SER is a significant milestone in the license renewal review process. 

This process proceeds along two tracks – one for review of safety issues and another for environmental issues. The SER marks the completion of the NRC staff’s safety review that is published and subsequently reviewed and publicly discussed by the agency’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS). The staff is in the process of reviewing the environmental part of the Columbia plant’s license renewal application. That review must be completed before a final decision is made on the renewal. 

The SER and the license renewal application have been provided to the ACRS, an independent body of experts that advises the Commission on reactor safety matters. The ACRS will discuss the SER during its April meeting, details of which will be posted on the ACRS meeting section of the NRC website. The ACRS will later issue a letter discussing the results of its review. 

Energy Northwest (EN) submitted an application to the NRC in January 2010, to extend the plant licenses by 20 years for each unit. The plant, operated by EN, is located on the Columbia River about 160 miles southeast of Seattle. The current 40-year operating license for Columbia is due to expire on Dec. 20, 2023.



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